Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road

Despite unprecedented snow depths and relentless cold, spring has made itself known. To wit, I saw a dead skunk in the middle of the road and yes, it stunks to high Heaven (a tip of the proverbial hat to Louden Wainright III).

Right about now, late February, is just about the time when skunks ought to be nosing about. But how do they navigate 4-foot snow and even 12-foot snowbanks? Whether they walk on top or burrow beneath makes little difference. The skunk I saw reminds me that the earth continues to spin on its axis and the sun continues to strike our world at a sharper angle, thus providing more and more warmth. In the end, this translates to spring.

The same day I saw the skunk, I saw a robin. While this is not really a big deal (some robins spend the winter on offshore islands and make regular forays to the mainland), this single robin appeared to be a lone pioneer, a spring-thinking bird. It gave me hope.

Last winter was a “beezer,” as my Scottish friends would say. This winter is worse. In fact, although I filled my woodshed to overflowing, I’m almost out of firewood. It appears that I may need to don snowshoes and haul some more wood out from under the snow. Unheard of, but true nonetheless.

So a few signs of the spring, a lone robin and even a smelly skunk, are quite welcome now. It has been a rough one.

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